Slope failure in White Rock park leads to warning from city

Homeowners living above Ruth Johnson Park in White Rock are being urged to conduct geological assessments of their properties.

Heavy rain at the end of January caused a slope failure in the park, and engineers are still trying to get a grasp of the damage. In fact, it wasn’t until they saw drone footage captured on Family Day that they realized the potential danger.

The shift in land caused trees to tumble and smash into the long boardwalks and steps that line the popular park. Railings have been split in two and wood has buckled. Groundwater is appearing where it shouldn’t.

Signs and temporary fences have been put up warning people to keep out.

The mayor says the damage is serious enough, even he won’t go in.

“There may be other trees that are in jeopardy of coming down, and until we have a really good idea, we’re not going in there,” said Mayor Darryl Walker.

Over the next two weeks, engineers will be conducting GPS monitoring of the park. They hope it will provide more answers about the severity of the slope failure.

“It’s more than just a couple of steps," Walker said. "If this was the case, people would be walking in and out of here right now because we could have fixed it over the past couple of days."

The cost to repair the park is anyone’s guess. An estimated $4 million was provided to council, but the city acknowledges it could be much less, or it could be a whole lot more.

“We’ll bring people in that know what their jobs are and before people go back in here, this place is going to be safe," the mayor said. "That, we will guarantee you." 

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